Archive For The “The Real Mann Way” Category

The Rat Race

Tell me if this situation sounds familiar to you?  I’m driving to work in grid locked traffic, and I feel trapped by whatever mode of transportation I take.  If it’s my car, I’m surrounded by other vehicles moving at such a slow pace.  There are cars attempting to move into any open spot they can find, just to be inches closer to their end destination.  If it’s the bus, we’re packed in like sardines, and I am then exposed to a mixture of different colognes, deodorants, and other odors I simply cannot explain.  And of course depending on the day of the week – I’m forced to sit or stand based on the capacity aboard. If it’s the train, not only am I packed in tight, I can almost read the writing on the person’s book or magazine next to me.  If it’s by airplane, I’m forced to arrive two hours ahead of time just to hurry up and wait.  Not to mention I get to see people who weren’t  smart enough to not grab socks without holes in them.  For the love of God didn’t you know you had a flight today, and that you were going to be asked to remove your shoes!

That Rate Race feeling really starts my day of on the wrong foot.  Once I finally arrive to my end destination, I can honestly say it takes me a good 30 minutes to decompress from all I’ve seen during that commute.  The saddest part is that it’s like hitting the replay button at the end of the day.  It’s no wonder people sometimes suffer from road rage.  Now I’m not saying I agree with it, but there have been times that I could have easily justified taking someone out.  But alas there is jail time associated with choosing that particular option.

Since I have to repeat this process five times a week, I thought it might me a good idea to find a way to relax while I’m traveling.  The first thing I did was to rely on music and books on-line to drown out any of the sounds around me. That seemed to work in almost every mode of transportation I can think of until I lose my internet.  When that happens the sounds seem to come rushing in again. I then thought what if I had ear plugs like when I attend a concert.  So I now keep them in my pocket as a fail safe.

As I traveled over the years regardless of the mode of transportation, I’ve come to realize is that the other passengers around me could care less if I’m disturbed by their smells, noises, or their conversations.  After all we have all developed some type of resolve to deal with our own hell when we’re traveling.

My true moment of discovery was when I decided that I could actually use the travel time to decompress – rather than waiting until I got to my end destination.  So I no longer see the traffic even though I’m surrounded by it in my car.  On the bus and train I get there early enough to situate myself in a I can only sit alone seat.  On an airplane it’s get a window or isle seat.  That’s because I refuse to be boxed in any longer.

So now when I travel I’m actually playing chess in my head about things in life and the things around me.  That meditation technique allows me not to see the long row of headlights in front or beside me.  It has also helped me to not feel that confined feeling when I’m in something that it’s trying to maximize it’s revenue by packing us in like sardines.  It has also eliminated any road rage and anxiety  I feel traveling in the RAT RACE!

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Letting Go Is Never Easy…The One That Got Away!

Interestingly enough our children will leave our  homes for an array of reasons including; divorce, separation, college, marriage…and the one we never hope happens – death.  As parents we raise them instilling the difference between right and wrong, and wanting them to be independent enough to make their own decisions at some point.  We see through their maturity or lack-there-of when they can be trusted to make those decisions on their own.  Yet I still find it fascinating that they seem to think they know they’re ready for it before we do.  Now I’m sure that’s not the case with all children, but I’m willing to bet it’s that way with most of them.

We lost our oldest son when he convinced himself that we were treating him differently than his naturally born siblings (he was adopted).  What he forgot was all the time and resources we invested in him as we would have and did for any of our children.  He forgot the hugs and kisses, us reading to him at night before bed, the sporting events we attended, band concerts, doctors visits when he broke his arm and  when he was in a bus accident.  He forgot about the times we shared together that really had an impact in shaping his life.

When he ran away, it was one of the most worrisome and painful events I had ever experienced in my life.  Not knowing if he was safe or where he was truly had us going crazy.  That 1-2 weeks was one of the most stressful times in my own life, but also our marriage.  We couldn’t understand why he would not opt to communicate with us about how and what he was feeling rather than just leaving.  Once we figured out that our good Samaritan neighbor had taken him in, the worry went away, but the hurt of his actions was still there.  Later that evening he returned home and we talked.  It was a conversation about how things would be different between all of us regardless of whether he was here until high school graduation or the end of college.

Things appeared to be going well for a little while, but choosing the wrong girlfriend, starting to use drugs, breaking the rules, and his lying became overbearing.  We were and always have been in on wanting him to have a good life, go to college, marry, and of course some day make us grandparents.  However, upon our second conversation he was given four options; 1) Leave when you graduate high school  2) Stay, get a job to pay rent, and leave when you graduate high school (the plan was to give him the money saved to help him) 3) We forget this happened and start again 4) You leave tonight.

When he opted for choice number 4 we both were shocked and very hurt.  We were not ready to send our son out into the wilderness called the world, because we knew he was not ready.  But ready or not we knew we had to let him go.  As time went on there were more drugs, jail time, homelessness, and a blatant disregard for authority.   In addition to him leaving at such a young age, the other hard part for me was how much he hurt his mother.

She was and is an angel who does so much for our children, and it did not matter that she did not give birth to him.  She loved him like he was one of her own, because in her mind he was and is.  One of the hardest things for her was carrying around the hurt after her investment of love into him as well as all of our children.  And the saddest part is that he does not realize how important fixing that relationship truly is.  He is loved and missed, but as the oldest of our children he is not aware of what he has missed, and is going to miss.  His twin siblings are about to graduate high school and transition to college.  His youngest brother is now eight (two when he left), and growing like a weed.

I send this one word of advice to him, and all real men sharing a like experience.  Find out what you need to do and then start and complete the healing process within your family.  Because your family’s life will continue to go on whether you’re there to see it or not.  The question is…will you do the work to be there to see and be a part of the rest of it?

 

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Young Love!

As parents, we have a hard non-negotiable rule that our children were unable to date until they were 17.  The reason behind our decision is maturity, or better yet a lack of maturity.  We’ve seen many of their friends children go through multiple failed relationships where they  broke-up with their so called boy/girl friends and the devastation it caused in their early lives.   We also saw the viciousness, lack of maturity, and almost stalking pattern that happened during some of the break-ups, not to mention how long they stayed with the wrong person because they felt loyal to a bad relationship.

I’m happy to say that our twin children honored this rule year after year, and never questioned it.  Even if they really like someone they took the time to explain their situation in full detail.  Because most parents are not like us and did not have the same requirement, some of the kids they liked questioned the rule…but our children stood firm.  They not only understood the importance of honoring the rule, they wanted the designation of girl or boy friend to really mean something.

My twin son had liked a young lady and began to see her.  You could tell they had something special, and we knew it as well.  The first part of their relationship lasted for six months with no other designation other than sharing time with each other.  They did not secretly name each other boy friend or girl friend behind our backs.  The coolest part was him waking up on his 17th birthday and sending her a text requesting a call.  Her response was it was really early, and his was this is really important!  That morning he asked her to be his girlfriend, and she yes!

That evening we talked, and I asked him how he felt about her now being his girlfriend, and his response was that he felt they were mature enough to have made that decision earlier.  I then commented that your true maturity was shown when you were mature enough to follow the requirement.

Now I’m not sure if they are going to make it long term or not, but they did just celebrate their first year together.  They remind me of us when my wife and I made our commitment to each other.  I truly hope that they survive going to two different colleges, and the distractions that come with it.  And if they do, we’re happy that we had his requirement to help them better understand that calling someone your girl or boyfriend is a title that you have to earn – and not something society decides for you.

Real men have focus on the center they are responsible for, and do not rely on society to determine the rules of their family life.

 

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It Shouldn’t Take A Holiday Or Funeral?

I’m fortunate to have come from a large family, as well as being close with almost all of my siblings.  But what I’ve noticed over the years, is that life has slowly pulled us a part.  Our jobs, the rearing of our children, the separate vacations, and a multitude of other responsibilities leave little time for get together’s other than occasional holiday and funerals.

As we’re getting older and all crossing the half century mark I often wonder, what happened to the deep relationships we grew up with?  It was filled with running together, rough housing, creating adventures from our own minds, watching them leave an marry, providing free baby sitting as their family’s grew, and long telephone conversations as your best friend started to transition out of your life.  Man that SUCKS!

Now it seems were down to a few select moments centered around 50th birthdays, a holiday sprinkled in…and funerals.  Even though we have certainly grown into different people after all of this…I truly miss the pure friendships with them.  As a twin I again am fortunate to have a unbelievable friendship with my twin sister, and we remain thick as thieves still today.  But over the last year, I found a new found friend in my eldest sister.

She had married and transitioned out of the family home during my early years, so I didn’t really get a chance to foster a relationship with her.  I loved her and her husband dearly, but for some reason was just to busy for our relationship to grow.  But then her husband died.  At the funeral we went through the regular emotions of morning and sorrow for her loss, and then I realized that she has just lost her best friend for the past 40+ years.

At that moment I decided this was not just going to be another funeral that I attended to pay my respects for a loss.  Instead I was going to take that opportunity to build the relationship I never got the change to build when we were younger. Over the past year we’ve truly gotten to  know each other, and have a regular scheduled call a 6:45 am each morning.  And believe it or not, it is really fun.

I’ve gotten to know about her from the time she left our home until now.  She is a fascinating person that I am honored to now call my friend.  As I’ve always said, “You have no choice in your siblings, but you always get to choose your friends.”  And she has become a good one.  Our conversations range from soup to nuts on love, health, death, taxes, family, exercise, and much much more!

The actual moral to the story is there are friendships within your own family that have never been explored for a myriad of reasons.  But if you think the only work required is attending an occasional holiday or funeral is going to get it done – you’re wrong.  As a real man my vote is to find the hidden gem of a good friendship within your own family.

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Better Out Than In!

A strange question popped in my head the other day, why is there such a problem with farting in public around other people? With it being a natural body function you’d think that people would be more accepting of it.  After all there’s nothing more robust that hearing someone rip one, and then it being followed by that pungent smell of rotten eggs.

I think Shrek said it best,”Better out than in.”  The thought actually took me back to the days of dating my now wife, and slipping outside to squeeze one out, or attempting to bury one silently in the couch.  Oh and lets not forget about being ever so careful to keep the smell trapped in the cushion.  Now regardless of whether she heard or smelt it…she kept quiet about it.  Now that’s someone who really loves you!

I still remember the day I was granted my fart-pardon, and I was then free to let them rip as I may.  She asked me why I kept leaving the room, and in my best gentlemen voice I replied, “I did not want to fart in front of you.”  Boy did I have a sigh of relief when said that it would not bother her, because people fart.  Now with a free wind tunnel I was able to do it standing, sitting, play dutch oven, and who doesn’t love having one cheek up in the air…and bouncing one off a leather chair.

This begs a bigger question, at what age did our parents break of us from farting out loud when we needed to do it?  I simply cannot remember a conversation at a young age where my licence to fart out loud was revoked.  But somehow it was!  And it is still frowned upon in society today.  What a shame.

So why is it okay to go into a public bathroom to drop your deuce and let your farts fly at will.  Why if you really think about it, the only thing that separates you from the world are metal walls and a door.   Now I do know that it helps that the only identification you have is your shoes, but nonetheless you are still in their ripping them.  So my vote goes to public and open farting with contests in the office to see who can the loudest, and of course the stinkiest.  That way there is no hiding it or  blaming someone else – that’s including the dog.

The moral of the story is that real men fart out loud…be a real man and rip one for your friends and family.

 

 

 

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Happy Veteran’s Day!

To all of my brothers and sisters who have fallen, have served, and are currently serving…Happy Veteran’s Day.  The service and the price you pay and have paid is a constant reminder that FREEDOM IS NOT FREE!

Guy Mann

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The Campaigning Circus

WOW…I am so happy the elections are over in my home state, because it was such a painful process.  The voting itself takes a while, and the lines always seem to depend on how much of the community is actually involved and feel that their vote will make a difference.

Ever since I’ve been a registered voter, my parents continually drove into my head the importance of taking the time to vote.  After all, these people are going to be responsible for making decisions for the people.  They also made it clear that maybe my vote could  be the difference in a campaign race.  That coupled with my competitive nature, makes me want to get out and do it!

Now even though the lines were long and the choices were many, the most painful part was having to watch the campaign commercials.  What happened to the good old days when politicians campaigned on their strengths and not the weaknesses of their opponents.  Not knowing if any of the information was true or not, I can only assume that most of it was made up and slanderous in nature.  It was so surprising they brought up topics like their belief/disbelief in the NRA, Freedom of Choice, and some of the commercials referenced candidates as Nazi’s.  When did one candidate’s personal or made up beliefs translate into them being able to change a law in today’s government structure?

At the end of the day, I stayed true to the political party that best supported my own beliefs, but there were a few candidates where I went the other way.  But those commercials made it really difficult to determine if there was a good or bad candidate.  This was largely due to fact that I could not see through the crap that was being advertised about each of them.  Here’s an idea, how about we go back to the good old days where campaigning politicians talk about the difference they’re going to make rather than attempting to exploit the other candidates.

By the way, I approve this message…

 

 

 

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The Real Way To Work Out

Since I’ve launched this blog I have derived a great deal of pleasure from writing and sharing my own thoughts.  However, I also love reading something good enough to share with you as well.  The below article has been pulled from the MyFitnessPal blog, and I hope you enjoy the read as much as I did.

Long-term results are the hallmark of a healthy lifestyle, however, sometimes we need a quick fix for weddings, reunions, other special events or to boost motivation. Here are tips to get fast weight-loss results while ramping up your workouts.

Ramping up workouts is a great way to boost performance and achieve body goals; however, it’s common to increase your fitness routine only to gain weight. This is a complaint I hear quite frequently as a performance dietitian. Putting in the time and hard effort to train for a race, keep up with a group class, get in shape for a special occasion or accomplish health goals only to see the number on the scale creep up instead of down can be demoralizing. It might be common, but that doesn’t mean it is any less frustrating to deal with.

One good thing about common complaints is there is typically a common solution. It might take some work to identify exactly what your individual issue is, but from my experience working with fitness-minded clients, following these suggestions can help ensure you get the lean results you’re after.

1
KNOW YOUR NUMBERS

Body composition numbers, that is. Weight is only part of the picture when it comes to fitness. Getting a body fat assessment and taking measurements of various body parts can provide more accurate tracking of whether your workout is working for you. Muscle weighs more than fat and is a more metabolically active (healthier) tissue — and muscle is put on when fitness routines (particularly strength routines) are increased. Of course, you can’t know this just by stepping on the scale.

Sudden weight gain can mean your routine is, in fact, working if your body fat has decreased and lean mass increased.

2
SKIP THE SNACK

Spending more time sweating it out can lead to more desire to put calories back in. Unless your workouts are longer than an hour and very intense, chances are you do not need the extra fuel. If losing weight is your goal, a calorie deficit needs to be created — and that won’t happen if you’re reaching for snacks with the ‘I earned this’ mentality.

3
TRADE CARBS FOR PROTEIN

Unless you’ve started an ultra-endurance routine, your body has enough glycogen stores to burn. Carbohydrates store extra water weight which leads to a puffy appearance. Cutting back on carbs can help you achieve the short-term result of looking leaner due to water weight loss.  Giving yourself a bit more protein throughout the day can help keep you feeling full and increase muscle gains.

4
DITCH THE SALAD

Yes, I said it. Consuming lots of raw vegetables is great for your health, but it can cause bloating that gives the appearance of not having a flat stomach. Having to digest a lot of roughage can also make you feel sluggish and uncomfortable, making it hard to get in the workout intensity you’re after. Foods with sugar alcohols (diet, processed foods), chewing gum and sparkling water can also lead to excessive bloat.

5
ADD FOOD TO YOUR WORKOUTS

Ramping up fitness can require you put calories into your workout to keep your body energized to perform well. Too often I see clients refusing to eat during their workouts only to be starving and completely overdo it later in the day. Restructure your daily diet by adding a banana before a workout for an energy boost and reduce a snack somewhere else in your day.

Now, for a few non-food related tips on how to structure and monitor your workouts:

6
WEIGHTS FIRST, CARDIO SECOND

On days when you’re mixing workout disciplines, go for the weights first. This can help your body warm up to handle cardio better, allowing you to go harder. It also ramps up EPOC(excess post exercise oxygen consumption) so you go into the cardio workout with a higher rate of energy burn.

7
INVEST IN A FITNESS TRACKER

Machines at the gym and online calculators tend to overestimate your burn. Checking in with your body’s workload is the only way to get an accurate look at how much energy you use for a given activity. Research fitness trackers that, at a minimum, count steps, heart rate and sleep.

Often, we ramp up workouts only to be more sedentary overall. Kick the ‘I’m going to sit on the couch for hours because I worked out this morning’ mindset by using your tracker to set better step goals or buzz if you sit still too long. A good tracker can measure your heart rate during workouts to give a personalized look at how hard you’re working and how many calories you’re burning. If your heart rate is always at a ‘walk to the mailbox’ pace, you won’t see the gains you’re after.

8
MAKE IT A DOUBLE

When you work out, especially high-intensity workouts, your metabolism is boosted through post exercise oxygen consumption and the hunger hormone ghrelin is reduced. Doing a morning session and an evening session can make this burn last all day long.

While these tips can help ramp up your burn and short-term results, long-term health and lifestyle changes are always the big-picture goal. Once you’ve ramped up your routine, start to implement more sustainable ways to keep reaching your desired results.

 

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Short…Sweet…And Good to Eat!

Boy do I love food!  But what I hate more than anything is how good they make food look on television.  It’s portrayed to be an experience shared with your friends and family that has no consequences when you have a glutenous appetite.  What’s most surprising is that no commercial shows the effects of eating with no control.  Just keep the bread sticks coming!

They go as far as showing the somewhat healthy choices available, while you’re curled up on the couch…with the idea you’re getting to cheat a little.  Oh but still no portion control suggestions, and they do present them as comfort foods!  With the United States being one of if not the most overweight country in the world, it’s as if food companies want us addicted to food.  To further promote this strategy, most commercials tie it to sharing time together, or it being that comfort food.

As a real man, my opinion is that every food commercial, menu, menu board, promotional advertisement, receipt book, and anything else that references food on it should have the caloric intake listed on it.  This gives us the chance to make educated choices about what we consume.  Now if you know ahead of time what you’re consuming, and you still make the decision to stuff yourself…then it’s your fault.

From the way food companies advertise it appears they think that we are not smart enough to make healthy choices, so many companies are okay making profits on the dysfunctions of an uneducated food society.  And I’m going to say, the way most people look in our country…they may be right!

Take it from someone who got himself healthy and in shape…the restaurants and pharmaceutical companies make a lot of money from those who have no self control, but they make less from those who get their lives in order.  Be a real man and eat like you’re in control…believe it, the food and pharmaceutical companies will hate you, but your family will love you for being around longer.

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The Next Step in the Journey

I had contemplated writing about another topic until my weekend experience with my family.  It was an experience that I truly hope you do not robe yourself of if you are a parent.  My thoughts go all the way back to when we brought the two car seats home with our twins in them.  We of course knew that some day it would happen, but had no idea that them getting ready for college would come so fast.

I think back to when we were planting the seeds of which college we wanted them to attend early on.  It was a simple process of simply buying them gear from that university in hopes they would buy into the university’s brand.  And believe me we invested a chunk of change into it trying to sway that decision.   For awhile we could see them get excited about the sporting events connected to their passions, and we had several opportunities to visit the campus.  What we didn’t think about was that the recruiting process is something very special, and  that every young adult should have the opportunity to experience it!

I had the pleasure of taking my twin son to his first official visit, and boy was it nice to hear how they had scouted him on the baseball field.  What I loved most was hearing how little they talked about the game itself, but how they focus on what happens outside of the white lines of the field.  Those coaches were interested in helping him build his character, be a steward to others, develop good study habits, and how to be a good teammate on and off the field.  They were clear that what happens on the field should happen on the field, so what separates their program from others is the extra work they do off of it.

I was impressed with the way he handled himself, and it was a true reflection of the work we had poured into him over the years.  What I know now is, what ever college may get him, they will be lucky to have him.

After our Chicago trip we loaded up again to head to Wisconsin.  The soccer coach met us at the gate that surrounded all of their sport facilities, and it too was an impressive campus.  The tour of the campus was really nice, but the best part was having the recruiting talk in the head coach’s office.  He also shared all of the scouting they did while seeing  my daughter play at different tournaments throughout the year.

The coach offered her a roster spot right then and there, and further talked about seeing her as a valuable part of the team next year.  It was really exciting to sit back and watch the recruiting process, but even more so watching the reaction of our children hearing the accolades being given to them on their athletic abilities.  And even though my my son got to meet with the baseball coach too, neither one of them really connected with the campus or the coaches.

The moral of the story is to take those college trips as a family together, because the next step in the journey for them…should not be faced alone.  Oh, and you get to see their faces light up when they’ve found the right college fit for themselves!

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